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This tiny device harvests energy from a simple breeze

Researchers have developed a “tiny wind turbine” that captures energy from breezes as light as those made by a brisk walk, The Guardian reports. This device consists of two plastic strips in an 8-centimeter-long tube that flap when exposed to air flow. As the strips oscillate and clap together in the wind, they generate power—similar to how rubbing a balloon on your head creates static electricity. The device can work in as gentle a breeze as 1.6 meters per second, but it performs best at wind speeds between 4 to 8 meters per second, about the speed of an average biker. The device can power up to 100 light-emitting diode lights as well as temperature sensors, the researchers report today in Cell Reports Physical Science. It won’t replace conventional wind turbines any time soon, scientists say, but could be a low-cost solution to power small electronics like remote sensors and security cameras.

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